Tuesday, 3 June 2008

A Reply To Damon Hoppe

This is a reply to Damon Hoppe in respect of a discussion within the North Staffs Campaign Against Racism and Fascism that arose after recent reporting in the Guardian of the rise of the BNP in Stoke, and the decline of the Labour Party.

“I mean greens a capitalist party???!!! Thats a bit like calling the Labour Party a workers Party...Oh they just did.”

“1) The Greens are definetly not capitalist it is an ecological movement and therefore by its very definition anti-capitalist. Its philosopohy is grounded in ethics and ecology. As being 'Green' involves a change in world view it has not yet gained popular appeal, but greens are optomistic about a paradigm shift. Though there is an air of desperate panic amognst some members - myself a case in point- as they know it may soon be to late!”


This makes no sense. The Greens ARE a capitalist party. There is nothing in the programme which challenges Capitalism per se. On the contrary being Green is very profitable for Capitalism. Just look at all the stratified marketing that capitalist firms do selling things at higher prices, be they environmentally friendly this or that, or organic water or such like. Or look at the big business now being developed around alternative energy. Nor does the Greens social base come from the working class.

The Labour party, however, whilst it has always been a Party which remains ideologically tied to capitalism is at the same time organically tied to the working class, both through those that vote for it, through its individual membership, and through the affiliation of the Trade Unions. That is what makes it a Workers Party, and what provides the basis for being able to change society in a way the Liberals or Greens never can.

“2) Socialist Party. Extreme left? Dont be silly. Most of its policies were the bread and butter of post-war Labour and indeed Conservative governments. Just good old 'Social Democracy'...A bit hung up on old rhetoric maybe....”

I didn’t actually specify the Socialist Party as “extreme left”, I was actually thinking of other actually more left groups. But the same logic applies to the Socialist Party. The fact remains they do not have the same resonance within the working class that the LP has – or unfortunately even the BNP amongst workers – so their attempt to substitute their own commitment for the actual support of workers is in practice divisive, and counter-productive.

“3) Liberalism attempts to accomedate Capitalism by restraining it and harnessing its forces for good.(Adam Smith, etc) Gave us the welfare state (Bevridge report) etc. Many liberal ideas have been dismissed as socialist which gives you an idea of how right-wing the government is. Not exactly a 'workers party' (what is a worker anyway?) but certinely a friend of the people. Alas the use of the term neo-liberal which is in fact anti-liberal may leave many confused as to what liberalism is.”

Actually, if you read some political history and philosophy you will find that Liberalism is based on the policy of Laissez-Faire, and the unrestricted Free market. It is what is alluded to by anarcho-capitalists such as Mises and Hayek. Neo-Liberalism derives its name from the fact that it recognises under monopoly capitalism the fundamental role of the capitalists state, a role denied by the original Liberals, and by people like Mises. It was under the Liberals that the worst excesses of the Industrial revolution occurred. As for policies such as the Welfare State and so on these are capitalist policies, in part brought in because of the desperate condition of workers who had not even been fit enough to fight in World war I and II, and because short of Labour in the post-war period, capitalism needed a healthy workforce. Along with the rest of these state capitalist welfarist measures they buy off sections of the working class, pacify it, and create a dependency culture rather than a spirit of working class self-reliance, and collectivism.

“The liberal democrats are probably the most sympathetic to workers of the mainstream parties.”

When it suits them to win votes. IN practice in Councils around the country they have been far more harsh in their treatment of workers than have most Labour councils.

“The suggestion that 'iron fist of capitalism' BNP is a Workers Party is really quiet insulting.”

No its not, it’s a statement of fact, and socialists like myself believe in starting by telling the truth. Only then can you begin to deal with it. The BNP like all fascist parties exists ultimately to come to the rescue of capitalism, but in order to do that it has to win power, and it has to gain support on the streets. The majority of people are workers, and they can only do that by appealing to workers and the middle class. Usually, they appeal to the most backward, least organised workers, and you can see that happening now. But, in Italy and Germany for instance the more dominant the fascists became the more they were able to win over wider groups of workers, including some that switched straight across from the Communist Party.

If you don’t recognise that, and from that realise why it is necessary not just to oppose the BNP, but why it is also necessary to provide workers with a credible alternative then you are doomed to failure.

“As for infiltrating the Labour Party to transform it into a 'workers party' , apart from being dishonest, makes about as much sense as infiltraring the BNP with the same intention. Most infiltraters go native insteed.”

As for infilreating the Labour party, who said anything about infiltrating it. I am a Marxist, and believe as Marx did that the priority is to build the Workers Party. In the Communist manifesto Marx and Engels wrote,

“The Communists do not set up their own parties separate from the Workers parties.”

There is no question of infiltrating anything, or of being dishonest. It is the responsibility of socialists to build the Labour party as the Workers party. The way to do that is by beginning at the grass roots turning each LP Branch out into its community to deal with the problems of people through collective action. We should where possible attempt to build co-operative forms as alternatives to the solutions offered by Capitalism and by the capitalist state at national and local level, thereby building the strength and conscioussnes, and social and economic power of the working class.

Ultimately, that is a far more practical and realistic solution than relying on bourgeois politicians whether they be from the Labour Party, the Greens or the Liberals.

“We have to face poltical reality.”

Yet you advocate voting for the Greens!

“There are decent people in both of these parties who probably detest the leadership of them and there 'new right' ideas as much as the general population who we can all be working with.”

And the best way of doing that is by being a member of the Labour Party.

“But anyone claiming that 'New Labour' is a friend of ordinary working people is frankly only going to upset lots of people and make them very very angry indeed “

I agree, but who is saying that New labour is a friend of ordinary working people. I’m certainly not.

“Now please can we get back to stopping the BNP and deal with resistsing or supportiung 'New Labour' some where else!”

Yes, but the way to stop the BNP is by providing a credible political alternative, and that can only be built through the labour party alongside all those “decent people” in there you refered to.

See Also:
The LP is Dead, Long Live the LP

Vote labour in the mayoral Election

Marxists and the Workers Party

31 comments:

fendawg said...

Thank you for putting into a more coherent form what I've been trying to communicated to Damon! I firmly believe that the Labour Party offers the only credible alternative to the BNP - unless we are advocating a return to Thatcherism.

It should be remembered that the BNP felt able to urge their London voters to give their Second Preference votes to Boris Johnson, and Mr Mayor, while making some feeble attempts to distance himself, did not actually reject that endorsement.

Boffy said...

Tim,

Thank you for your comment. As you can see I very much agree that unless a credible alternative to the BNP can be provided, simply denounce them as fascists simply will not do. Not only dolocal people simply look at what they do, and conclude, well if this is what fascism is about I'm all for it, but I think we should also be aware that whatever we might hope to be the case, there is a deep reservoir of racist sentiment that runs through the British working class, and middle class.

I go to the gym in Kidsgrove several times a week, and speak to ordianry working class people from the Miners estate in Kidsgrove, and some from up at Goldenhill. As I used to work for Newcastle Council I also know most of the staff. I have to say that very racist sentiment runs through nearly every conversation. I am not talking abot people who want to put people into Gas Chambers, but certainly a deep seated resentment, and a feeling that they would not at all be unhappy about simply shipping people off out of the country whether they were born here or not.

We should remember that in the 1960's it was fairly militant workers - the London dockers - that marched calling for Enoch Powell for PM.

You cannot simply overcome those kind of ingrained beliefs and prejudices by moral arguments about how bad racism is. It is first necessary to persuade workers you are on their sidde, show you have some solutins to their everyday problems, and then you can begin to eat away at those prejudices too. Only a Party that is focussed on the working class can do that. Not even the Trade UNions can do it, because it requires more than just Trade Union solutions to these problems, and as we have seen racism can infect even militant Trade Unions too.

Over the last few years I have been looking back at socialist ideas, and have come to the conclusion that some of the basic ideas that people like myself on the Left of the labour Movement have been working with have been thoroughly distorted. IN some of the posts I have put on my blog here I have tried to show in what way I think that has happened.

In particular I have been cocnerned about the way in which te views of Marx himself have been distorted away from his prime concern that socialism was all about encouraging the workers themselves to organise, and to create solutions, for example by establishing co-operatives, by establishing co-operative forms to solve community issues, for example setting up Credit UNions, or Co-op management of estates, the setting up of Tenants and Residents Associations, and the new forms of participatory and direct democracy those solutions imply, and instead the focus has been on the idea of soluitons handed down on high by the State, whether that is the existing state - in which case I would say not much hope - or some future Workers State - in which case I say that the example of the USSR is not very encouraging.

Back in the 1980's myself and other socialists locally did try to put this into practice. I know that some socialists like Neil Dawson attempt to do the same thing now. Back then in my own Ward of Tunstall North we recruited soemthing around 100 people asa result of establishing various community campaigns that mobilised local people. The BNP seem to have learned that lesson.

It is very hard work, and it goes against most of what the Labour party has always stood for - certainly what New Labour stands for - which has always been based around a parliamentary perspective, and "leave it to the elected representatives". But I beleive that not only is it the only way to beat the BNP, but its also the only way to beat the Tories, and ultimately to create socialism.

Mick Williams has 44 year involvement in the Labour Movement, and I am not too far behind with 35. UNfortunately, life has taken is toll of me, and over the last few years I have been suffering severe depression which restricts my involvement in activities. But, were I able it is in the direction I have outlined that I would devote all of my energy.

Unknown said...

1) Your claim that the Greens are capitalist demonstrates only an acute ignorance both of what the Greens stand (don’t condemn something until you have at least read something about it) and of Marxism.

Marxism is not just a pile of rhetoric it is the philosophy of "Dialectical and Historical Materialism". Read ‘Dialectics of Nature’.
If you bothered to read Marx you might have a better grasp of why supporting the Labour Party will change nothing!!!

The Labour Party is organically tied to the working class??? Only in the same way as McDonalds. I.e. conning the workers into buying 'happy meals' is no different to conning them into voting for the Labour Party.
The Worker must know there place as a passive consumer of Labour Party rhetoric.
As for the Trade Union movement it has been infiltrated by the Labour Party, not the other way round. When my own union wont support me because it would mean critiscing a Labour Policy that is unacceptable. I quit and joined the IWW which according to you must be capitalist because it does NOT support the labour party.

2) You are just so wrong as history has proven. Kier Hardie knew that political parties like the Liberal Party then and the Labour Party now what the workers votes but know real progress can be made with out a genuine workers party.
He did not give up and went about establishing one like the Greens and Socialist parties are attempting today.
3) I spoke of liberalism i.e. positive liberty. Laissez-Faire was a term used by the Physiocrats and denotes negative liberty. I did in fact refer to Adam Smith who never used the term. Someone else I don’t think you have read either.
Essentially Liberalism believes in the concept of equality and freedom. Thus it sees any group in society dominating any other as being harmful. Most notably the idea of Monarchy at the time, but would be corporations and the capitalist class today.
Liberals were historically for this reasons the main defenders of the working class and, though much diminished in influence, remain so today. Alas Liberalism failed to delivery on its promise of ‘positive liberty’, there hopes of an emerging free market (it never happened) was destroyed by the very existence of slavery.
Some of the rhetoric of Liberalism has been used to justify a so called project of ‘negative liberty’ as advocated by the Labour Party.
As for Hayek, et al I have already stated disgust of the Labour Party embracing them, and Carl Schmitt, as there theoretical basis.
Anyway the only reason why I raised the question of Liberalism is because of the Labour parties propaganda about the ‘end of history’. The idea that the liberal/enlightenment project of ‘positive liberty’ has failed.
Thus supporting the Liberals may be far from ideal it is far better than supporting the Labour Party.
As for you comments about Liberals Councils treatment of workers, I can only speak from experience but I have had more sympathy for the plight for the poor from ‘positive liberals’ and ‘paternal conservatives’ than Labour. Though frankly I don’t trust either anymore than I believe a word that comes out of a Labour supporter’s mouth.
So what do we need to do, you admitted it yourself
“it is also necessary to provide workers with a credible alternative”
You quote Marx correctly
“The Communists do not set up their own parties separate from the Workers parties.”
Then you advocate doing just that by supporting the middle class, pro-capitalist, anti-worker, Labour Party rather than working class parties.
Come on. I look to Kier Hardie for my inspiration.
You say it is not dishonest to attempt to hijack the Labour Party and turn it back into some kind of working class party. I think you will find that is incompatible with the membership of that party. The only way Blair gained control of the party was by lien. So you are either deceiving the workers or deceiving the middle class leadership of the Labour Party. Either way I am not going to vote for a party that’s based upon lies and conspiracy because I will never know who they truly represent.
You claim that decent people would join the Labour Party. How is a decent person supposed to cope with being a member of that party? Just being around Labour Party members so ‘soul destroying’. I can say that most decent people have left the party in tears or were bullied until they left. I can’t think of anyone who wants to put up with the verbal abuse, being constantly undermined and having to witness wholesale corruption and say nothing. (Yes I have made themistake in my past of trying to work with the Labour Party - I am still bleeding from the many stabs in the back.)
“We have to face political reality.” The Labour Party and there Conservative Party allies are the enemy.
Yet you advocate voting for the Labour Party
When I go to a Green Party meeting, or Socialist Party for that matter. The vast majority 75%+ are working class. Most of the leadership position are taken by the working class. The same can not be said of your so called workerless ‘workers party’
Then one of your supporters you have the audacity to suggest pursuing Green Party policies, strategies and tactics as the Labour Party The Green Party doesn’t talk about it. It is doing it.

Anyway I have wasted enough time on this you are either a) attempting to decieve me or b) you have decieved yourself.

Boffy said...

“1) Your claim that the Greens are capitalist demonstrates only an acute ignorance both of what the Greens stand (don’t condemn something until you have at least read something about it) and of Marxism.”

Really? On the latter point, I suggest that the next time you speak to Jason who has known me for more than 30 years you ask him about my knowledge of Marxism! On the former I have read the Green’s programme, and there is nothing in there which leads to the replacement of capitalism. As I said, Capitalism is actually doing very nicely thank you out of the Green Agenda in promoting its higher priced products through stratified marketing, and the development of new industries.

”Marxism is not just a pile of rhetoric”

Isn’t this just schoolboy heckling rather than reasoned argument?

“it is the philosophy of "Dialectical and Historical Materialism".

Actually, it’s the theory of Historical Materialism Marx did not use the term Dialectical Materialism, and Marx overturned Hegel’s dialectic both in form and content, read his Early Writings.

"Read ‘Dialectics of Nature’."

I have. Your point is?

”If you bothered to read Marx you might have a better grasp of why supporting the Labour Party will change nothing!!!”

I have read Marx extensively, and it is precisely what Marx and Engels say about the need to build the Workers Party that provides the basis of my politics, alongside what they say about socialism only being possible through the self-activity of the working class.

”The Labour Party is organically tied to the working class??? Only in the same way as McDonalds. I.e. conning the workers into buying 'happy meals' is no different to conning them into voting for the Labour Party.”

Whether workers vote for the LP because they are being conned or not, the fact is that they vote for the LP not the Greens or the Liberals. The workers basic organisation, the Trade Unions remain affiliated to the LP not to the Greens or the Liberals. As I believe that the only force capable of bringing about a progressive change in society is the working class it makes sense if you want to influence those workers, help them to develop so that they are not conned by anyone that you have to go to where those workers are, not expect them to come to you.

“The Worker must know there place as a passive consumer of Labour Party rhetoric.”

Rarely has that been the case, look at Wilson’s attempt to impose “In Place of Strife”. Workers have been passive over the last 25 years of economic downturn, but even during that time there has been dissent. But the point is that my whole argument is to organise the working class through the channels that the LP provides, precisely because it is the Workers Party, and thereby undermine any question of passivity. What you offer is the sectarian policy of all sectarians, which is “I have the truth, come to me or be damned”.

”As for the Trade Union movement it has been infiltrated by the Labour Party, not the other way round.”

The Trade Unions created the Labour party, and did so on the basis of their own reformist politics.

“When my own union wont support me because it would mean critiscing a Labour Policy that is unacceptable. I quit and joined the IWW which according to you must be capitalist because it does NOT support the labour party.”

This seems to be a common feature of your political method. If you can’t get people to agree with you, you go off and create your own union, or join something else rather than fight for your beliefs. What happens when the IWW won’t support you for its own political reasons? Who will you join then?

”2) You are just so wrong as history has proven. Kier Hardie knew that political parties like the Liberal Party then and the Labour Party now what the workers votes but know real progress can be made with out a genuine workers party.

He did not give up and went about establishing one like the Greens and Socialist parties are attempting today.”


Actually, there is a lot of mythology and bad history surrounding Keir Hardy. You also seem to contradict yourself. On the one hand you have Hardie believing real progress can be made without a workers party, and on the other you have him persisting in establishing one! But, the truth is that the Labour Party was NOT established by Hardie, it was established by the Trade Unions. True, the Unions through the LRC linked up with the ILP – the other myth is that the LP was established with the support of the Fabians, it wasn’t the Fabians actually opposed it, arguing that it was sectarian and that they should continue to support the Liberals – but it was the trade Union organisation and finance that made the labour party possible. The ILP quickly split away, later linking up with the Comintern, and then through people like Fenner Brockway with Trotsky’s ILO.

But, there is a big difference. The Labour Party was created on the back of a big working class upsurge founded on the economic boom of the late 19th century and early 20th century, it came alongside the development of Marxist Workers parties throughout Europe, it came at a time when there was no Workers Party in Britain. None of that is true today. We have just come through 25 years of working class defeats based on an economic downturn, we have widespread ideological confusion and backwardness, and we have existing Workers parties to whom the working class gives its support. In short the objective conditions required for building some alternative Workers party do not exist.

”3) I spoke of liberalism i.e. positive liberty. Laissez-Faire was a term used by the Physiocrats and denotes negative liberty. I did in fact refer to Adam Smith who never used the term. Someone else I don’t think you have read either.”

Wrong again, I have read Smith extensively too, and Ricardo and Mill (both of them).

“Essentially Liberalism believes in the concept of equality and freedom. Thus it sees any group in society dominating any other as being harmful. Most notably the idea of Monarchy at the time,”

Yes Liberalism DOES believe in equality and freedom in an abstract sense. That is the whole point as Marx points out the greatest freedom it believes in is “Free Trade”. It posits workers and capitalists as EQUALS precisely in order to argue that the bargain struck between them for the purchase of Labour power is a free and equal exchange on both parts, and it is that fundamental requirement that is necessary for the Liberal capitalist to exploit the working class. The Liberals emerged as the representatives of industrial Capital, whilst the Tories represented the old feudal aristocracy, and the financial oligarchy that largely developed out of that aristocracy.

“but would be corporations and the capitalist class today.”

But, it isn’t is it. As the old landlord class merged with the bourgeoisie by the end of the 19th century, and working men got the vote Disraeli the shrewd politician developed the idea of “One Nation Toryism” to win over working class votes, based on the development of a Labour Aristocracy bribed by the fruits of Empire. The Liberals developed their own One Nation policy, but instead based on the idea of a unity of interests between workers and capitalists a desire to manage conflict. That attitude chimed perfectly with the ideas of the Trade Union leaders who also saw their role as being one of managing conflict, of seeking respectability, and reforming capitalism in line with some abstract national interest. That was why the Trade Unions largely supported the Liberals.

“Liberals were historically for this reasons the main defenders of the working class and, though much diminished in influence, remain so today.”

Absolute nonsense. The Liberals of the early 19th century were no friends of the working class, if there were any Chartists alive today, you’d be able to ask them. The Liberals opposed the Monarchy because the Monarchy was the titular head of the old Landlord class, the enemy of the capitalists that the Liberals represented. The Liberals later motivated by a desire to beat the Tories in elections, and at the same time to incorporate the working class into capitalism sought workers votes, and made some concessions to workers interests, but only the better to further the interests of capitalism. And ask any Local Government Trade Unionist in Councils around the country where the Liberals have been in control, see what the practice is like rather than the rhetoric and opportunism.

“Alas Liberalism failed to delivery on its promise of ‘positive liberty’, there hopes of an emerging free market (it never happened) was destroyed by the very existence of slavery.”

Again nonsense. It was slavery that was abolished, partly as a result of the revolts of slaves, partly as a result of the struggles of workers against slavery – for example when the Liberal textile capitalists of Lancashire wanted the British State to send its Navy to break the Northern blockade of Confederate ports in order that cotton could be shipped, poverty stricken and starving textile workers threatened to black any such cotton that was shipped – and partly because Capitalism, and its free market found that wage slavery was a much more efficient means of production.

”As for Hayek, et al I have already stated disgust of the Labour Party embracing them, and Carl Schmitt, as there theoretical basis.”

That doesn’t change the fact that Hayek’s model is the very Liberalism of the 19th century you seem to admire so much. Nor does it change the fact that the Orange wing of the Liberals likewise looks to the Free Market policies of Hayek as its guiding principle.


”Anyway the only reason why I raised the question of Liberalism is because of the Labour parties propaganda about the ‘end of history’. The idea that the liberal/enlightenment project of ‘positive liberty’ has failed.

Thus supporting the Liberals may be far from ideal it is far better than supporting the Labour Party.”


But “positive liberty” has nothing to do with the actual Liberal Party throughout history. A positive liberty can only be created through socialism, by the working class emancipating itself and thereby the whole of society. You cannot do that whilst defending the continuance of capitalism!

”As for you comments about Liberals Councils treatment of workers, I can only speak from experience but I have had more sympathy for the plight for the poor from ‘positive liberals’ and ‘paternal conservatives’ than Labour. Though frankly I don’t trust either anymore than I believe a word that comes out of a Labour supporter’s mouth.”

Well, I don’t know if Boris Johnson is a “paternal” Conservative, but his first action has been to scrap a deal with Venezuela that provided cheap fuel for London’s poor. Moreover, paternalistic sympathy is one thing, attacking workers is another.

“ “The Communists do not set up their own parties separate from the Workers parties.”

Then you advocate doing just that by supporting the middle class, pro-capitalist, anti-worker, Labour Party rather than working class parties.”


But, the Labour Party still in its vast majority is not made up of the middle class. It is still the Party the Trade Unions affiliate to. I agree that the Labour Party has bourgeois ideas and policies, so does the working class in its majority. I agree the Labour Party through its elected representatives often has carried out policies that attack workers – but that simply makes it no different from any of the capitalist parties. It has also implemented policies that enhance workers conditions such as the huge investment in the NHS, in Education etc. and the introduction of the Minimum Wage, but all this shows is that socialists have failed to as Marx put it “Win the battle of democracy”, failed to intervene in the class struggle through the Labour party in a way that raised workers consciousness, and developed the Labour Party as a true Workers party. Instead they have done what you propose now they have run away from the battle, found solace in their own sectarian fantasies about building their own rrrrevolutionary party. Marx and Engels themselves joined the German Democrats an overtly bourgeois party, for the simple reason that as with the Labour party it was the party that the Workers gave their support to, and if you really want to talk to workers you have to go them not expect them to come to you.

“Come on. I look to Kier Hardie for my inspiration.”

Then no wonder you are disoriented.

“You say it is not dishonest to attempt to hijack the Labour Party and turn it back into some kind of working class party. I think you will find that is incompatible with the membership of that party.”

Really? Odd then that I have been a member of the Labour Party since I was 19. Odd that between 1997 and 2005 I was a Staffordshire County Councillor. I take exception that me fighting for my ideas in a Party that I have belonged to since 1974, and which you don’t represents me hijacking it!

"The only way Blair gained control of the party was by lien. So you are either deceiving the workers or deceiving the middle class leadership of the Labour Party.”

Blair gained control of the Party because it has always been a party whose basis has been Parliamentarism, and for such a Party being out of power for such a long time is a significant factor. LP members were prepared to fool themselves for a while, just as they have done with Brown and did with Kinnock that if they didn’t rock the boat, then the party had a chance to win the election, and then … well we’ll see. But the failure of New Labour completely undermines that perspective. The only sensible solution for LP members now faced with the prospect of defeat is to rejuvenate the Party on the basis of at least some semblance of socialist politics to win back the core support.

I do not see that it is deceiving anyone to say that openly, or to argue for rebuiklding the party on the basis I have previously outlined, not on the perspective just of winning votes and elections, but on the very real basis of mobilising working class communities and organisations to deal here and now with their own problems through collective action.

“Either way I am not going to vote for a party that’s based upon lies and conspiracy because I will never know who they truly represent.”

If your whole perspective is around solutions based on voting then in any case you will be disappointed. Anyone that is prepared to give up control of their life into the hands of some elected politician rather than demand control of their life through their own activity and organisation deserves what they get as a result.

“You claim that decent people would join the Labour Party. How is a decent person supposed to cope with being a member of that party? Just being around Labour Party members so ‘soul destroying’. I can say that most decent people have left the party in tears or were bullied until they left.”

My experience is not the same. and I know lots of decent people who are still members. In actual fact I had much more trouble joining the Party back then, and problems with people threatening to expel me during the 1980’s. But, the fact is that with hard work in the community that was turned around.

“Yet you advocate voting for the Labour Party”

Actually, if you read what I said rather than what you think I said I never mentioned voting. I talked about using the organisation and structures of the Labour Party, using the fact that workers still in their vast majority look to the LP rather than the greens or any other left alternative as the means by which to mobilise workers to self-activity. Its you that sees the solution to everything in the ballot box.

”When I go to a Green Party meeting, or Socialist Party for that matter. The vast majority 75%+ are working class.”

I am happy to concede the point in respect of the Socialist Party, but the fact is the Greens nationally are largely a middle class Party. Even were that not the case, the fact remains that the working class in its vast majority gives its support to the LP so do the Trade Unions. Moreover, 75% of a telephone box full still doesn’t amount to much.

“Most of the leadership position are taken by the working class. The same can not be said of your so called workerless ‘workers party’”

But that is a myth. All the LP members I know in Kidsgrove are working class, many from the Miners Estate. Take the County Council. The present leader is an ex Fireman, the leader before him was a production worker at GEC.

”Then one of your supporters you have the audacity to suggest pursuing Green Party policies, strategies and tactics as the Labour Party The Green Party doesn’t talk about it. It is doing it.”

This doesn’t seem to make grammatical sense. As for me I have no desire to pursue Green policies I’ll leave that to the bourgeois supporters of the Greens. In fact, I find most of Environmentalist politics rather reactionary and Malthusian, but worse a distraction for the working class of the real fight against Capitalism

“Anyway I have wasted enough time on this you are either a) attempting to decieve me or b) you have decieved yourself.”

Or c) neither.

Boffy said...

It was late last night, and I must have had a brain storm or something. What I intended to say in relation to the ILP was that through people like Fenner Brockway it took part in the Two and a Half International - Brockway was of course hostile to the Fourth International of Trotsky - whilst at the same time through C.A. Smith and others it had also taken part in discussions with TRotsky and the ILO in 1934. It was this vavering between the reformism of the Comintern and Social Democracy, and the revoluitonary politics of the ILO which led TRotsky to describe the ILP as centrist.

Unknown said...

hmm,

Though you like to use the language of "Marxism" and indeed appear to have a lot knowledge about its history, you seem to of failed to grasp the central premis.

Your calim that Marx was not dialectical...I assert that he most definetly was. He did not reject Hegels system "both in form and content" but rather "turned him the right way up" by correcting the 'idealist' tendancy within Hegel.

Your rejection of Dialectics explains much of what you are saying.

The role of the 'working class' is not becuase of some 'idealist' or 'romanitc' notion but becuase this class is a product of the 'master-slave dialectic'. The worker is forced to engage in praxis by the very conditions under which he/she finds themself as a worker.

Though the 'middle class' are technically workers too they are reactionary as the dialectic does not function in the same way for this class. They seek to smooth out the 'internal contridictions of capitlsim'. This is why a 'middle class' party supported by 'middle class' union bosses can never truely speak for the worker. You should know this!!!!

You then accuse the 'workers' of being secterian if they do not accept a 'Labour Movement' lead by the middle class who act against the workers interests.

However I think your last paragraph sums it up for me:

"I have no desire to pursue Green policies I’ll leave that to the bourgeois supporters of the Greens. In fact, I find most of Environmentalist politics rather reactionary and Malthusian, but worse a distraction for the working class of the real fight against Capitalism."

After ditching dialectics you ditch Materialism and embrace bourgeois 'idealism' as if you could remove the 'external contridictions of capital' with a waive of a magic wand.

Capitalism is not some 'idealist' position that can be defeated with rhetoric, it is a product of the material conditions you think you can ignore.

By ditching dialectics and materialism you have in fact ditched Marxism!!!

Your world view hinges on the idea that 'matter is a reflection of ideas' (Idealism) and not 'ideas a reflection of matter' (Materialism)

I, as a worker, can not be decieved as easily as you think because I have to live in the real world, of 'materiality', and no matter how much you bombard me with lies about how great the Labour Party and its policies are I experince the 'grim' reality.

The 'Labour Party' and the 'union bosses' exist soley to keep the working class down. This you will never suceed in no matter how much you try to lie and decieve us, because we have to live in the 'real world'.

A world that forces us into class struggle just to survive. Though you may try and seduce us away from this struggle with your 'asetic idealism' and the poltics of 'resentment' you can not defeat the 'material conditions' that give rise to our struggle.

That is why I am a mamber of the Green Party and the IWW becuase we believe in worker self-organisation and the need to change the 'material conditions of capitalism'.

In short do not despise the working class and the organisations it has created because it has no 'horns' for one day it will become a 'dragon'.

Boffy said...

Reply To Damon Hoppe

I have never claimed that Marx was not dialectical! On the contrary. He did reject both the form and content of Hegel's Logic, and that was the only way of turning Hegel right way up.

Its impossible for a Marxist to make the broad brush statement you do that the Middle Class is reactionary. Most of the Communist League, for example were not workers, but petit-bourgeois. The position adopted by the Middle Class, or more precisely by different sections of the middle class can only be determined concretely in each particular case, given the historical circumstances.

The reality is that workers as much as the middle class have been led to attempt to “smooth out” the contradictions of Capitalism. That is the whole basis of their reformist “Trade Union” consciousness. If you understood Historical Materialism, and Dialectics, you would understand that workers can only break out of that consciousness when their material conditions change, and when, therefore, they are able to develop a new consciousness based on the idea of creating and developing their own co-operative property in opposition to Capitalist property. And, those material conditions can only change when they begin to develop their own co-operative property and the social relations built upon it, in opposition to capitalistic relations.

It is not the fact that the LP is a middle class party that determines its ideas as bourgeois, but the fact that it is a Workers Party, and the workers themselves are imbued with bourgeois ideas, that makes it inevitable that any mass workers party will reflect those ideas!

Its not workers I accuse of being sectarian for rejecting the existing Labour Movement, but sectarians like yourself who reject the real Labour Movement made up of real workers whose bourgeois ideas you cannot deal with, and who consequently go off to form their own tiny sectarian alternatives!

I have neither ditched dialectics nor materialism! How, opposing some of the reactionary, reformist and utopian policies of the Greens and other Environmentalists amounts to that I have no idea. How you jump from this to the idea that my argument is based on Idealism, when in fact, I have argued the very opposite I have no idea. Nor it seems do you, as you fail to back up this assertion, as with most of your others, with any argument. My whole argument has been based on changing material conditions, through real working class activity!

Nowhere have I bombarded anyone with statements about how great the LP's policies are. In fact, if anything I have done the opposite! The person who despises the organisations the working class has created – the Trades Unions and the LP – is You!!!

I don't know why I didn't get round to replying to this at the time, and I've only just seen that I didn't. But, that has one beneficial consequence. We have seen just how much your friends the Liberal-Democrats have shown themselves the “Friends of the People”. In Europe, we see the alliances the Greens make their in a similar light.

Unknown said...

I was quiet surprised to receive a reply so long after the original...

Thankfully you have modified your position radically in this time and actually agree with everything I was saying....

"If you understood Historical Materialism, and Dialectics, you would understand that workers can only break out of that consciousness when their material conditions change, and when, therefore, they are able to develop a new consciousness based on the idea of creating and developing their own co-operative property in opposition to Capitalist property. And, those material conditions can only change when they begin to develop If you understood Historical Materialism, and Dialectics, you would understand that workers can only break out of that consciousness when their material conditions change, and when, therefore, they are able to develop a new consciousness based on the idea of creating and developing their own co-operative property in opposition to Capitalist property. And, those material conditions can only change when they begin to develop their own co-operative property and the social relations built upon it, in opposition to capitalistic relations."

I could not of put it better...

No mention of having to vote and campaign for the Labour Party and support its policies of opposing co-operative property in that statement.

You no longer claim that Greens are CAPITALIST to say that the the eco-system is material basis of any society. Dismissing ecology as irrelevant is something that no Real Marxist would of done. So I am glad you no longer say this...

Alas unfortunately your reply then turns back to the original argument stating that anyone who disagrees with the Labour Party and its policies is being sectarian.

You have an irreversible ideological commitment to the idea that someone who does not support the New Labour Party i.e. the War in Iraq, etc is someone who "...despises organisations the working class has created – the Trades Unions and the LP"

You ideology leaves you to despise organisations the working class has created – co-opertatives, non-Labour Party Unions (e.g. IWW), occupy Wall Street, etc anything which and anybody who may not declare uncritical and swerving support for the New Labour Party, its leadership and the "middle" that it represents.

It is such a shame that someone who is obviously intelligent and has even understood the need for real action falls into this sectarian we must ALL support the Labour Party mantra.

This almost arbitrary privileging of the Labour Party as being the Vanguard of the Working Class just does not make any sense. I mean workers vote and even join the LD, BNP, Tory, Socialist, Green, parties? What basis do you have for selecting the Labour Party other then what it stood for a century ago? This arbitrariness really lets you down....

Its a shame because if you were more willing to work with people who do not support the Labour Party and its policies you might be able to get more down...

Afterall you have got to accept no one outside the Labour Party is going to invite your meetings if ALL you have to say is I oppose everything you are doing because you dont support the Labour Party.

Maybe if we can leave it a year or two you will come to accept that supporting the Labour Party is not the unquestionable doxa that you make it out to be....







Boffy said...

Damon,

My position is no different today than it was four years ago. Though it would be interesting to know if your faith in the Liberals remains so strong! The reply I gave is no different to what I would have given back then. I have no idea why I didn't reply at the time other than my Mother was, as it turned out terminally ill, and I had just started a detailed discussion on some similar points with Mike McNair of the CPGB. I was only drawn back to the thread by pure chance.

At no point in the original discussion did I say anything about the need to vote for or support the policies of New Labour. Quite the contrary. The whole basis of my argument then as now, and it is spelled out explicitly in the responses I gave to you, was that the LP like the Trades Unions is merely the vehicle for organising alongside the working-class in order to further that very self-activity described in relation to creating co-operative forms. Being a member of the LP does imply campaigning for a Labour vote, that is true, but doing so does not at all mean calling for a vote for all those things socialists disagree with. In 1979, for example, as a supporter of Socialist Organiser, we organised the Socialist Campaign for Labour Victory, which put forward a Socialist Programme for the elections – far more socialist than anything the Greens and certainly the Liberals have proposed – and used it to mobilise workers to fight for such solutions inside and outside the Party. I proposed a similar approach for 2010.

But, the whole point is that Historical Materialism teaches us that it is idealist and utopian to believe that workers inside or outside the LP are going to spontaneously arrive at a socialist consciousness – which is why the majority support the bourgeois policies not only of the LP, but even the Liberals and Tories and UKIP – without a change in the material conditions. Believing that you can achieve that by setting up some alternative Party that has no resonance with the working class is thoroughly Idealist and Utopian. That is why your call to support and faith in the Liberals of yesteryear looks so ridiculous today! It is why the Greens five years on still have not won anything like a sizeable support amongst the working class, and why indeed they are trailing by UKIP.

I have not said that the Greens are not a Capitalist Party. They are, just as much as the Liberals and Tories. I didn't say ecology was irrelevant, I said that many of the positions of the Greens and Environmentalists are reactionary, a position I maintain.

cont'd

Boffy said...

cont'd

Nowhere did I say that anyone who disagrees with the LP's policies is sectarian! I disagree with most of the LP's policies for goodness sake. What I said was, and continue to say is that it is sectarian to refuse to work in the LP or TU's, and thereby cut yourself off from the mass of workers, because you disagree with those policies!

It may be because you have a tendency to simply repeat these unsubstantiated charges of what someone's position is rather than deal with what their actual position is that led me to discontinue discussion. For example your argument in relation to support for the War in Iraq is ridiculous, because like many other LP members I opposed that War, marched against it, and so on. So how could your charge be valid???

And where have I said that I despise Co-operatives, for example. Do you not think the considerable amount of space devoted to Co-operatives on the blog page you have just commented to, disproves that rather silly allegation? Moreover, where organisations are truly created by the working class, I welcome them. The trouble is that many organisation that continually proclaim themselves to be the New Workers Party, are nothing of the sort, but only the latest sectarian venture by middle class dilettantes.

The fact that some workers support other parties is irrelevant, because the fact is that the vast majority of workers support the LP rather than these other organisations. If that were not the case, if it were a hundred years ago, or so then like Engels I would argue for relating directly to the workers via the Liberal Clubs. The idea that anything I have said implies opposition to working with people who do not support the LP is ludicrous. I was a founder member of NORSCARF with five other people, back in the 1970's, and from the beginning that involved working with people from other organisations. That is besides the point. The point is that working through the LP is the best means at the moment we have of mobilising large number of workers within communities and on a wider scale on the basis of their self-organisation.

Unknown said...

It seems the problem stems from the fact that you have forgotten the substance of the original email in which I objected to the idea that NorSCARF should urge people to support the Labour Party.

This was something that upset me very very deeply at the time and was undermining NorSCARF's creditability as an anti-racist/fascist organization. i.e. people saw it as a Labour Party front.

That is what we have been arguing over all this time....doh!

As people attempted to defend NorSCARF becoming closely associated with the Labour Party the tone of the conversation moved onto the reasons why the Labour Party were not the answer.

That was why I was saying voting Labour and campaigning for it was no better than campaigning for any other party because their was a false view that fighting racism meant voting Labour.

Therefore I dont know where you get the idea I support the Lib Dems from. I did claim that the Labour Party was no better than the Lib Dems which by no means implies I support them.

Maybe it was because of the fact I pointed out at the time the Lib Dems (under Charles Kennedy) where standing up for ideas like universal education whilst the Labour Party was seeking to exclude working class people from the education system. Or was it where we digressed into a conversation about the Liberal Party in which I asserted that the argument for forming a Labour Party, rather than working through the Liberal Party, back then now applies to the New Labour Party now? I just was not in anyway supporting the Lib Dems.

Anyway thats not important. As you jumped in supporting the Labour Party with everyone else I may of assumed you were advocating their view of uncritical support for the New Labour Party.

As you state: "At no point in the original discussion did I say anything about the need to vote for or support the policies of New Labour."

If this is a true statement guilty of making that false assumption that you were. I therefore offer my apologies. But you must accept that as you leaped in to defend people who were saying this it was an easy assumption to make.

My then support for the Greens was based upon their Manifesto For a Sustainable Society which I still believe in. However the Green Party has now abandoned its radical agenda to get votes. So, yes maybe I was guilty of being politically naive for advocating them as an alternative to Labour. After the then Labour Party had so cruelly betrayed me and the working class in general I wanted to believe their was a place for radical politics somewhere in the world.

Though simply stating their radical policies at the time were both utopian and reactionary at the same time is not an approach one can take seriously. You should site these utopian and reactionary policies....As they have now ditched them its probably not a debate worth having but you must understand why someone might be attracted to Party offering a radical ecological agenda of doing away with capitalism when all the other parties standing at election are openly in league with capitalism.

In essence if you had said you held the view that you DISAGREED with the Labour Party and it was okay to NOT support or vote for the Labour Party but rather individuals may work within the structures of any potentially effective political party to achieve a better world for everyone then we would never of had this conversation as this is what I was trying to get you to accept.

Just in case I have misunderstood could you confirm that is what you are and have always been saying?

If it is we both look very silly and I apologize for my role in this silliness.



Boffy said...

But I do think that NORSCARF should encourage people to support the LP. Why wouldn't I think that. I think Marxists should encourage workers and socialists not only to support, but to join the LP. That doesn't change when I am active in NORSCARF anymore than it changes in any other area of political activity. People are free to disagree with my opinion, and if they do it will not stop me from working with them in an organisation like NORSCARF, any more than it would stop me from working with even Tory members of my Trade Union Branch! That is part of the difference between us. When people in a Workers Party like the LP or in a Trade Union do not agree with you, you see it as a reason to abandon those workers, and go off to create your own alternative and irrelevant alternative. That has been the history of sectarianism in Britain for more than 100 years.

I don't see why arguing that is undermining of NORSCARF any more than it would be for members of the SWP or the Socialist Party to encourage NORSCARF members to support or join their parties. As a former member of a Trotskyist group, I know that the main reason they engage in such activity is precisely for the purpose of “Party Building”. In actual fact, having read what Trotsky wrote about the United Front, if anything my position would be harder today. Trotsky argued that there was no reason for Workers Parties that had the support of the large majority of workers to form United Fronts with minor organisations. My position today would be more that the LP should simply take on itself the job of being the main opposition to the racists and fascists. If all the other irrelevant little organisations wanted to support its activities they would be welcome to do so, but I see no reason why these irrelevant sects should be given more credibility than they deserve by having a say in it.

As far as I have always been concerned “supporting Labour” has never been a matter of voting Labour. I am a revolutionary not an electoralist. Supporting Labour as far as I am concerned has always been about precisely what I have set out, which is using it for the purpose of practical activity by workers themselves. Its precisely on that basis that I argued that simply putting forward the idea of “Anti-Racist/Anti-Fascist” activity is meaningless unless it is in the context of a socialist political response of solutions that workers can mobilise around, which is far wider than simply being “anti”. In fact, history has proved that right in a certain sense. The BNP got stuffed in Stoke as a consequence of the LP getting its act together to an extent, and starting to go out and campaign in the community. Its not providing the solutions I would recommend, but even so it is enough to have stopped the BNP.

Read your original comments about the Liberals. Such as “The liberal democrats are probably the most sympathetic to workers of the mainstream parties.” Or “Thus supporting the Liberals may be far from ideal it is far better than supporting the Labour Party.”

I was advocating that people support and join the LP, and that implies voting for its candidates at elections, even where you disagree with the platform they are standing on. The whole basis of workers democracy is that we will belong to organisations be they parties, unions or co-ops that will have positions we disagree with. That is inevitable given that the vast majority of the working class continues to be dominated by bourgeois ideas. The whole point of the idea of “winning the battle of democracy” as Marx put it, is to continue to support workers in their struggles despite their adherence to those ideas, and thereby to win them away from those ideas. The more we work in those organisations alongside those workers in that way, and orient them to self activity and self-government, the more we change the material conditions faced by the workers, and thereby create the conditions for also transforming their ideas.

Unknown said...

"I argued that simply putting forward the idea of “Anti-Racist/Anti-Fascist” activity is meaningless unless it is in the context of a socialist political response of solutions that workers can mobilise around, which is far wider than simply being “anti”. In fact, history has proved that right in a certain sense."

Agree

Though you seem to miss the point that capitalism can not survive without racism and therefore to be truly anti-racist is to be, even if unconsciously, anti-capitalist.

"I was advocating that people support and join the LP, and that implies voting for its candidates at elections, even where you disagree with the platform they are standing on."

Disagree

If you believe that working within the Labour Party to support workers in their struggle as difficult as that maybe then I support you 100%.

However you have to accept their is absolutely no argument that you can make to me to convince me support a candidate and party that is racist as part of an anti-rascit platform...

Though I am sure you will argue that the Labour Party is less openly racist then the BNP and therefore it does not matter...

I don't accept the argument that because I live in capitalist society I should accept some degree of racism. As I am on the receiving end of some of these racist attitudes you are not going to be able to convince me otherwise.

Your broader problem is that people from the Labour Party keep coming to meetings/infiltrating groups (hiding the fact they are Labour Party) to disrupt their activities because we are seen as being critical of Labour Party policy. This just plan wrong and you know it.

Therefore we are not going to trust the Labour Party and by extension you because the main activity of the Labour Party is not to fight the Tories et al but to sabotage any socialist political response or solutions that workers can mobilise around.

You need to modify your program to one of supporting elements within the Labour Party that we can trust, which are working for the workers interests, like yourself as a distinct activity separate from voting for candidates and policies that are enemies of the workers simply because they wear a Labour Party rosette.

If you want me to vote Labour give me someone or something I can vote for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is not some intellectual or abstract debate you are dealing with very deep emotional pain and hurt that has been inflicted upon the most vulnerable in society by an organization that pretended to be their friend to get into power.

Whenever I hear the word Labour Party a huge amount of pain, hurt, trauma and agony is forced to the surface as they destroyed me and the people I love.

It sometimes seems that the only political question left to us is one of suicide.

As I am sure you can understand under these circumstances we shall have to leave this debate as one of agree to disagree on this point.

You also seem to blame the working class for this state of affairs, yet the working class are denied a voice and are generally unwelcome within main stream political parties.

At present like many people who are working class I will not be voting in the elections and that is not going to change until the political parties change which is not going to happen.

This may not be a such a bad thing because now people realize that their is no point voting and that if we want to survive we need to create co-operative structures as an alternative to being part of the capitalist system.

If you are able to put aside trying to get us to vote Labour you are more than welcome to help in this endeavour.

Unknown said...

Sorry

I am sorry if my pain and anguish may of driven me to sound aggressive or even sectarian to your mind but this is not the case. I just cant take the pain and hurt anymore.

I am desperate to find a space, any space, free from the daily uninterrupted violence of capitalism.

So I am sorry if at any point I have added to your pain...If at any stage my pain has blinded me to a vital point you made...

Until I can transcend this pain I will forever be in bondage to it...

Sorry maybe its to late for me, maybe the pain is so great I can't function anymore...When ever I hear of the Labour Party and their Tory/corporate/banker mates all I can do is scream!!!!

I am sorry if this debate has been more of me screaming than anything else....

I cant take it anymore!

I am not dying I, and many others, are being murdered albeit slowly!!!

This is nothing more than our dying pains....

Boffy said...

You say Capitalism cannot survive without racism. I see no objective reason why that has to be the case. More importantly, there are plenty of people who are anti-racist, and yet very pro-Capitalist. Obama for one!

If in a particular LP the candidate is racist that implies that the Party itself in that instance has a majority of racists within it. Of course, there is a discussion to be had about the nature of this racism. For example, I believe that Immigration Controls and Import Controls are racist, but are those who support such policies necessarily racist? I don't think so. Either way, the job of a Marxist is to join with workers to challenge those ideas within the local party and thereby to remove any openly racist candidates. The difference here is over the word “support”.

Back in the 1980's, I stood for selection against a sitting right-wing Labour Councillor. I lost, but having lost through myself into campaigning for the election. Many people said to me on the doorstep, we never see Labour Councillors, we disagree with this, that and the other. I and others said, we agree with you. We want to change things, but to do so we need people like you to join and help us do it. Over the next couple of years, many of them from that election campaign, we recruited lots of people, and we did change things. What “support” here means is support in an abstract sense of support for the Party as a Workers Party, not support for its leadership, its particular candidates, or its specific policies at any one time. There have been some pretty appalling unions in the past, but the starting point of transforming them, still remains the need for workers to “support” the union, to join it, despite how reactionary it might be. It does not mean support for the reactionary policies or leaders.

Actually, I've argued in the past, that under some terrible circumstances, where the BNP was the party where the majority of workers gave their support, it would be necessary for Marxists to find a way of working inside it, just as Trotsky advocated in relation to Italy in the 1920's. It would be necessary to do so to speak to those workers, and to break apart the necessary contradictions that exist within such a party, by for example, emphasising the anti-capitalist elements of its programme.

Who is saying anyone should accept racist attitudes? The whole question is about the best way to challenge them.

I don't accept what you say about LP people infiltrating other organisations for the sake of disrupting socialist opposition rather than fighting the Tories. If anything, the opposite is true, and many LP members can be faulted for simply relying on electoral opposition to the Tories rather than engaging in campaigning activity.

Boffy said...

It is not my job as a Marxist to GIVE you anything. It is my job to convince you and other workers to do things for yourself, to engage in self-activity. If there were a better way of me doing that rather than utilising the opportunities the LP provides as the Workers Party I would use them. There are not, and the only way workers will provide themselves with a political alternative is by building their own Party. For now that is the LP warts and all, just as before it, it was the Liberal Party. The difference between us remains that you see politics in terms of voting, and therefore of someone providing you with a candidate you can support, whereas for me is that I see politics in terms of working-class self activity, and voting is really a bit of a sideshow. Voting will only take on a different importance when we have large scale workers self activity, when it has massively raised working class consciousness, and when that has become reflected in the Workers Party, and the candidates it then puts forward.

I have no idea what you mean by thinking that I blame the working class for the current situation. Nothing I have said supports such a belief. The working class are the victims. If I were to blame anyone, it would be Marxists themselves, or at least those that call themselves Marxists, because for more than 100 years they have actually bowdlerised Marx's teaching, and have undermined the building of a class conscious, independent, working class.

I'm glad you are in favour of building Co-operative structures, and to me that is more important than if someone votes for or even joins the LP. But, given that you are clearly in distress, I think it better that we leave the discussion there.

Unknown said...

"You say Capitalism cannot survive without racism. I see no objective reason why that has to be the case. More importantly, there are plenty of people who are anti-racist, and yet very pro-Capitalist. Obama for one!"

Disagree
I would of thought this was obvious.
Captialism relies on the false consciouness of the worker in order to survive.
It creates the false concept that their is an Ubermensch (ruling class - Aryan) and a Untermensch (lower working class blacks, semtites , white trash, etc). By virtue of which the class inequality is legimated and accepted as natural by the claim of genetic stratefication.
Thus the the untermensch is poor by virtue of his bilological inferoirty not his oppression. It is claimed that society must be cured of this 'blood posioning' and thus Ghettoisation, Concentration, enslavement and ultimitly extermination is inevitable.
This has the added benefit of dividing the working class against itself and encoruages the working class to oppresses and exploit a section of itself thus tieing it more closer to the capitalist system economically and ideologically.
If people accepted that all people are equal then this gross injustice would not be accepted let alone demanded!!!
Obama anti-rascist? What has he done to liberate the black man?

"Actually, I've argued in the past, that under some terrible circumstances, where the BNP was the party where the majority of workers gave their support, it would be necessary for Marxists to find a way of working inside it,..."

hmm, mayube a failure of imagination on my part because I can not not see how as they would beat me up before I could get near a joining form.

Unknown said...

I don't accept what you say about LP people infiltrating other organisations for the sake of disrupting socialist opposition rather than fighting the Tories.

Hmm, I was not expressing an opionin I was stating fact based on personal experince of myself and others. In fact it is the basis of much hostility that people feel towards the LP.

Of course you could argue their actions are not offically sanctioned...However that would leave you the problem of explaining away Jim Murphy.

Unknown said...

"you are clearly in distress, I think it better that we leave the discussion there"

Distress is the state of being under conditions of capitalism. We need to ackowledge that the intense pay and suffering of having to survive (because one can not live) under such unbearable conditions produces such distress and anguish that one finds it often impossible to argue from a deattached point of view.

Marx himself was a far from happy chap!

It is this pain that you seem to be somehow smoothing over with transcental lines of reason.

As my pain seems to affect my ability to articulate what I mean maybe the words of others would be clearer.

I think the Simone Weil put it best
“Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing; it is the person crushed who feels what is happening. Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them, one cannot understand.”

We can not attain serentiy...“In struggling against anguish one never produces serenity; the struggle against anguish only produces new forms of anguish."

To be aware of our collective fate is like the Angel of History: "The face of the angel of history is turned toward the past. Where we perceived a chain of events, he sees a single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. This storm irresistably propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. The storm is what we call progress." Walter Benjamin

“Whether the mask is labeled fascism, democracy, or dictatorship of the proletariat, our great adversary remains the apparatus—the bureaucracy, the police, the military. Not the one facing us across the frontier of the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers' enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this apparatus and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others.” Simone Weil.

As a Marxist I am sure you are familiar with their work and other similar Marxist but I would invite you to revist their writings in the light of this discussion.

I hope one does not need to feel as distressed as me and even them to appreciate thier writings (they both committed sucicide).

I hope they can help you see that which I have failed to elucidate.



Boffy said...

As someone who suffers with Depression I entirely agree with your comments about the effects that Capitalism as a system can have on individuals. It was for that reason that I did not wish to perpetuate a discussion that seemed to be causing you distress. Nor would I want you to think that I was ignoring your comments, however, which is why I am responding to them.

Actually, as Marx describes in Capital, what Capitalism relies upon is the fact that class relations are automatically reproduced by the workings of the capitalist economy. It is those relations, which naturally create and reproduce bourgeois ideology not just in the head of the bourgeoisie, but in the head of the workers too. In fact, it is that very basis which at an objective level undermines racism, precisely because it is based upon the notion of free and equal exchanges between individuals. As the black American Marxist, Oliver Cromwell Cox, theorised, racism actually develops under Capitalism as a means of rationalising Colonialism, which clearly breaches the notion of such free and equal exchange between individuals. But, in many ways just as Colonialism becomes a fetter on Capital Accumulation, and is replaced by Imperialism, so racism (and the same could be said about sexism, homophobia etc) becomes a fetter on Capital accumulation too, at the stage when advanced industrial Capital needs to establish a global economy, and ensure the free movement of labour and capital within it. That is one reason that the representatives of Big Capital complain about the Tories Immigration Cap.

Far from Capital needing workers to accept the notion of inequality, which was what was required by Feudal society, Capital needs for its existence that workers believe that they are in reality equal, and free, and that it is on this basis that they enter into contract with Capital. That is one reason it inscribed on its banner the slogan “Egalite, Fraternite, Liberte”. Capital does not need racism to bring about division within the working class, the very operation of competition achieves that function.

I did not suggest that you or any other particular individual would have to join a fascist party in the unpalatable situation I described, only that Marxists sui generis would have to find some way of intervening.

There is no need for the LP to waste its time in conspiracies against the other groups you talk about. All these other groups are infinitesimally small and insignificant. Labour has no need to waste time trying to undermine them, because there is nothing to undermine. These groups are completely ineffectual to begin with.


Unknown said...

"In fact, it is that very basis which at an objective level undermines racism, precisely because it is based upon the notion of free and equal exchanges between individuals."

Eh? That sounds more like Adam Smith than Karl Marx. Under conditions of capitalism "free and equal exchanges between individuals." can not take place....The unfree and unequal exchange between classes is the basis of capitalism!!!!

Under capitalism races, communities and individuals are pitted against each other in gladiatorial like competition. A struggle to the death both physically and psychologically.

According to the Bourgeois Apex Predator this class stratification not only reflects the natural inequality between the races but through their use eugenics and epigenetics ultimately creates different species of man. That is the Homo Superior Bourgeois Apex Predator. This, we are told, is the destiny of all history to produce this Ubermensch and now the untermensch is to be discarded as the refuge of the past.

These racists ideas have become the dominant ideology of capitalism, unquestioned and accepted by everyone!

The worker comes to believe that those of other races should be paid less as their lives are worthless then theirs. Incredibly the false consciousness worker then wonders why they are unemployed and all the products are made in a foreign land.

It is at that point that we should intervene a demand the free movement of Labour and Equal Pay for Equal work. Instead Bourgoise press and political parties convince the worker that his problem lies not with inequalities of racism and class but the fact he has permitted the "blood poisoning of the Untermensch" in his midst and has allowed him to breed!

The Untermensch internalizes the description of himself as the living unworthy of his life and does not engage in the revolutionary activity that self respect/esteem demands!

However I believe the different races are not a different species and thus the only real difference between a rich Aryan and a oppressed untermensch is an accident of birth. No amount of brain washing by the media will every get me to accept the racist myths that are the basis of this capitalist society.

Unbelievably you state:
"Far from Capital needing workers to accept the notion of inequality, which was what was required by Feudal society, Capital needs for its existence that workers believe that they are in reality equal, and free, and that it is on this basis that they enter into contract with Capital. "

The freedom you speak of here is the freedom to be unequal, to become a fettering Labour Aristocracy living off the exploitation of other workers. Nobody, other than maybe yourself, is under the delusion that they are entering into an equal contract with capital.

Unknown said...

"There is no need for the LP to waste its time in conspiracies against the other groups you talk about. All these other groups are infinitesimally small and insignificant. Labour has no need to waste time trying to undermine them, because there is nothing to undermine. These groups are completely ineffectual to begin with."

This last sentence designed deliberately to insult, divide and depress those who stand in opposition to capitalism. Is this all you have to say: Abandon your co-operatives, your unions, all forms of resistance/revolution for resistance itself is futile!!!

I think this sums your position up perfectly behind all your rhetoric about Marx you not only have nothing but contempt for the working class but fear them. You are terrified of the workers uniting! Indeed no better instrument for dividing the workers against themselves and keeping them down than the Labour Party.


Boffy said...

Of course, under Capitalism exchanges are neither free nor equal, but bourgeois ideology rests on the idea that they are! Anything that undermines the idea that workers and capitalists are free and equal partners entering into voluntary contracts with each other undermines Capitalism! Colonialism, and racism both openly admit that no such freedom or equality exists, and thereby undermine bourgeois ideology. Read Chapter 33 where Marx makes that clear.

“an unmistakable relation of dependence, which the smug political economist, at home, in the mother-country, can transmogrify into one of free contract between buyer and seller, between equally independent owners of commodities, the owner of the commodity capital and the owner of the commodity labour. But in the colonies, this pretty fancy is torn asunder...

In ancient civilized countries the labourer, though free, is by a law of Nature dependent on capitalists; in colonies this dependence must be created by artificial means.”

Under Capitalism competition exists at multiple levels, but I think that you are placing the role of race above class. It is not race that is the main division in society but class. British Capital does not care whether it invests in a business owned by, or whose workers are black, white, yellow or any other colour. It is only concerned to make profits from that investment. Nor in reverse is it bothered whether the Capital raised for such investment comes from men, women, straight or gay, or whatever ethnic origin. Anything, which acts to create such divisions, and thereby put obstacles in the way of capital accumulation is against the interest of capital.

As for the free movement of labour, and so on, it may have escaped your notice, but that is precisely what Capital has sought to do on a limited scope via the establishment of the EU. It is Big Capital that is complaining about the Immigration Cap implemented by the Tories. It is Capitalist farmers who are complaining about immigration controls preventing them recruiting migrant labour! It was the US, which was the biggest recruiter of foreign migrants for the purpose of meeting its needs for labour.

Why do you say it is an unbelievable statement to say that Capital needs to believe that they are free and equal? That is exactly what Marx states Capital requires, and why so much of its ideological armoury is devoted to persuading them of that! Neither I nor Marx is saying that they are free or equal, only that that is what Capital requires them to believe. You really need to pay more attention to what people actually write before responding to what you think they might have written

Boffy said...

cont'd

Once again in your last comment you reply to what you think someone has said rather than what they actually have said, and once again it makes you sound silly. Given the amount of column inches I have devoted to encouraging workers to establish co-operatives and so on, you do yourself no favours by proceeding with an argument predicated on the notion that I am in some way encouraging workers not to to do that! You confuse workers with the tiny number of – usually middle class, often students – people in these tiny ineffectual sects. My statement was not at all intended to be insulting, or to divide and depress. The people usually doing that are themselves those very sects, whose vitriol against each other increases in inverse proportion to their size, and is always more reserved for each other than against the real class enemy. It is they that continually divide on the basis frequently of personal antagonisms hidden under the rhetoric of non-existent political differences.

As for contempt for the working class that is once again just an insult based on nothing. As someone who spent a lifetime as a worker, and as a Trade Unionist I can only treat it with contempt. Who really holds workers in contempt me who is prepared to work alongside them in the organisations they create warts and all, or you who runs away from them on the basis of your inability to accept the reality of the ideas held by real workers?

Boffy said...

Incidentally, I take it from one of your previous comments about the Greens having abandoned the positions that formally attracted you to them that you have also now decided that not only are the Liberals, who you previously advocated support for, but also the Greens, beyond the pale, and no longer pure enough for you to support.

As you previously told us that the Liberals and Greens were stalwart socialist organisations that unlike the LP were stuffed full of workers, does this mean that you now hold those workers in contempt for no longer meeting your stringent standards?

Unknown said...

Your sophist attempts to argue that anyone who is not a member or supporter of the New Labour 'one nation' Party is NOT a worker but are by your definition a member of a middle class, tiny ineffectual sect is just plain ridiculous.

This claim that activity outside of the LP is doomed to failure is inexcusable and also demonstrates the direct contradiction in your argument.

You claim that co-operatives are the way forward and then blame their failures on the fact they are middle class, tiny ineffectual sects that are doomed to failure.

When I pointed out that the Labour Party was less radical than the LibDems Party ((at the time they opposed the war, tuition fees, tax cuts for the rich, welfare cuts, etc) does not in anyone indicate that I support them just that I would sooner vote for them than the Labour Party.

The fact that the Labour Party has no more workers in it that the Liberal Party does not make the Liberal Party a stalwart socialist organization because anymore than it makes the Labour Party a socialist organization. That would be your case not mine!

The New Greens though no longer anti-capitalist (hence my then attraction to Old Greens) are still more radical on paper than anything coming out of the Labour Party.

Trying to convince me that people like Tony Blair are the working class and I should work alongside them is not very convincing as I am sure he would not want a filthy pleb like me alongside him.

I must prefer the company of my supposedly middle class shelf stackers, etc than your heroic working i.e. Tony Blair.

With regards to racism you really don't seem to understand what racism is and how it functions in our society.

Racism allows labour to be exploited and stratified at what otherwise would be an unacceptable level. All the big corporations and big capital have a openly racist agenda because their wealth is based upon this racist exploitation.

Racism and yes sexism, is now so embedded to the the bourgeois mentality I dont think reform is possible.

It is the true socialist not the capitalist who argues that all men are brothers....

Your obsession with the idea that only members the Labour Party are working class is beyond belief and you will twist everything to fit into the belief to the point that you contradict yourself.

Clearly according to you if their is conflict between the workers and the New Labour Party it is the fault of the workers.

I therefore see no point in continuing this conversation.

Boffy said...

I've never said that anyone who is not a member of the LP is not a worker!!! Once again by failing to actually read what people say, you make yourself look silly. Nor have I said that activity outside the LP is doomed to failure. Quite the opposite, which is why I encourage workers to establish co-operatives, set up neighbourhood committees (which I have done by practical action as well as by exhortation), create their own defence squads and so on. The reason I encourage people to join the LP is the better to be able to use its resources and connections with the Labour Movement and working class the better to implement that strategy!

I have never said that Co-operatives were failing because they were middle class and so on as you claim. Could you provide one instance of where I have said that? Once again you are making yourself look silly by simply not reading what people have written, and instead imposing your own preconceptions and prejudices and thereby imputing incorrect motives to people that you do not even know! On what basis do you describe a co-operative as a sect? I have never done so. When I refer to sects I am talking about groups like the SWP!

Your support for the Liberals and Greens could be taken from what you said, especially as on each occasion you have made clear that your interpretation of “support” is limited to an electoralist one. That is whenever it has arisen you have always interpreted “support” as meaning voting for, even when I have stated clearly that I do not consider support for a party as limited in that way.

It was your comments about how the Liberals were friends of the workers that led to my comment about you seeing it as a “stalwart”. As for your comments about the “New Greens” I'd refer you back to you misplaced faith in the Liberals, who were also committed on paper to a range of radical policies. Once again, it is a problem of your electoralist view of politics, rather than politics based on mobilising the working class for their own self activity.

I've never suggested that Tony Blair is working class or that you should work alongside him. Once again try reading what I've written, and reply to that rather than making up versions of what you think I might have said, because that fits your prejudices and makes it easier for you to vent your spleen against it. I am suggesting working with all of those ordinary workers who are members of the LP, many also members of Trades Unions, Tenants and residents Associations, and yes, Co-operatives too, as well as all those workers who are members of none of these organisations, but whose continued view of the LP as their party means they can be more easily approached by people who are LP members, than is possible for people who are members of the SWP or some other sect.

cont'd

Boffy said...

Marx wrote a very detailed account of how capitalism works, and how it extracts Surplus Value. The book is called “Capital”. Nowhere in it, does he state that Surplus Value can only be extracted as a result of racism. You once again privilege race over class in your analysis. To say that Capital extracts profits as a result of race rather than class exploitation shows you clearly do not understand Marxist analysis. What is more you assertions simply do not stack up, particularly as regards Big Capital. Capital will use divisions such as gender or race, when it suits them as means of controlling working class resistance, but it is mainly small capital not big capital that uses such divisions on a routine basis, because it is simply inefficient for big, particularly multinational capital.

As for all men being brothers I have not argued otherwise. You have switched to this argument from the argument about freedom and equality, presumably because you were unable to defend your former position. That is simply dishonest on your part.

Your obsession with twisting what I have actually said is beyond belief, and simply leaves you looking very silly, given that your distortion is so apparent. Your repetition at the end of your rant about me supposedly believing that only members of the LP are working class does not become any more credible for having repeated it. I know that Goebbels talked about if you repeat a lie often enough people will believe it, but your accusation is so patently ludicrous that it simply once again makes you look ridiculous. The same is true about your equally ludicrous statement about me believing that it must be the workers fault if they come into conflict with New Labour. What basis is there for such a ludicrous comment in anything I have said? But, that doesn't apparently stop you throwing around such unsubstantiated garbage.

If its on that basis that you engage in debate, then I agree there is no point in continuing to discuss anything with you.

Unknown said...

This is a joke...I even went to the trouble of cutting and pasting exactly what you had said and my response to it....Now you deny having ever said it...

To attempt to worm out of your own statements by attacking me exposes the hopelessness of your position.

I never once mentioned the SWP and in fact you have only just mentioned them....So you would wish us to believe that everything you have said to me was aimed at them...? You are kidding me right?

In your desperation to assert that we should all vote for the Labour Party you have thrown mud at everything that does not support the Labour Party or is supported by it. You have contradicted yourself at ever turn to justify this premise. That has got you into this mess and slagging me off wont get you out of it.

When someone from the Labour Party (and any other party) approaches us we know not to trust them and you have only confirmed that fact.

When a worker is telling you that he does not want anything to do with The Labour Party, a middle class capitalist organization that is the enemy of the worker all you do is slag them off, accuse them of being middle class, intellectual and a member of a sect.

The only organizations I am a member of and actively support is trade Union (IWW) and a Co-operative. So which one of them is the capitalist middle class intellectual sect that you keep referring to me being part of?

Why am I subjecting myself to this abuse?

You may have found it amusing to poke and prod me and have a good laugh at my response, but like capitalism the only appropriate possible response is not to participate.

Boffy said...

You have cut and paste nothing where I have said that Co-operatives or other such organisations are sectarian!!! How on Earth would I say such a thing given the amount of space in my blog given over to encouraging people to set up Co-operatives and other such organisations based on workers self-organisation? For example, here was my response to the situation Care Homes written a year ago, arguing for them to be occupied, and turned into Co-ops - Occupy The Care Homes. Your continued attempt to portray me as not supporting the establishment of Co-ops and other such organisations, is simply making you look more and more detached from reality.

I have never referred to opposition to any other organisations other than “sects”, and it has been quite clear from what I have written exactly what I meant by sects i.e. organisations like the SWP. That is why I wrote,

“And where have I said that I despise Co-operatives, for example. Do you not think the considerable amount of space devoted to Co-operatives on the blog page you have just commented to, disproves that rather silly allegation? Moreover, where organisations are truly created by the working class, I welcome them. The trouble is that many organisation that continually proclaim themselves to be the New Workers Party, are nothing of the sort, but only the latest sectarian venture by middle class dilettantes.” (6th January)

What does a Co-operative have to do with those organisations such as the SP, which proclaims the creation of a New Workers Party.

I further elaborated by talking about my own experience in such organisations.

“I don't see why arguing that is undermining of NORSCARF any more than it would be for members of the SWP or the Socialist Party to encourage NORSCARF members to support or join their parties. As a former member of a Trotskyist group, I know that the main reason they engage in such activity is precisely for the purpose of “Party Building”. (7th January)

As for attacking you that is rather rich given the history of this debate, and the way you have done nothing but attack me without even having bothered to actual know anything about my history in the labour Movement, bothering to actually read what I have written, and your continual misrepresentation of what I have said!

Your charge that I have also only just mentioned the SWP also shows up the fact that you have not even read what has been said, as the above quotes demonstrate!

Boffy said...

cont'd

Once again despite me repeating that my definition of “support” has nothing to do with voting, you continue to quite openly lie about my position on that. Clearly, you are so entrenched in the bourgeois mindset of electoralism that you cannot see any other form of political action other than voting. I repeat, my argument is for socialists to join the LP the better to be able to be in touch with workers and encourage them to engage in their own self-activity. It has nothing to do with calling on workers or anyone else to vote Labour! Its not me in a mess here, but quite clearly you. I do not need to slag you off, as you put it, certainly not in the way you have done from day one, because you have not only undermined your own position, but done so in such a blatantly obvious way that you have simply made yourself look silly.

I have not slagged any workers off for refusing to be a member of the LP! I am happy to work with workers whether they are in the LP or not. It seems to be the other way around, that you will not work with workers who are members of the LP. As far as I am aware I have not accused you of being a member of a sect. The only thing I have challenged in that regard is your support for the Liberals and the Greens.

Your last comment I think sums up what is wrong with your position. At every stage when people don't agree with you, your response is to withdraw from that arena. Unfortunately, given your electoralist politics, in which you expect some party, trade union or whatever to give you solutions that you can vote for, you will always end up being disappointed, because none of these organisations will have adequate politics for workers unless workers do what Marx and Engels advised, which is to take them as they are, and work to improve them. As for the idea of “not participating” in capitalism as a response, it certainly has nothing to do with either Marxism or reality. For so long as Capitalism exists, workers are forced to participate in it, in one way or another, if they want to live, and indeed, as Marx describes in order to create the conditions for Socialism.